I’m well aware of the shit that Crossfit gets – people view it as a cult, or as a ridiculous and dangerous hobby that could potentially be considered a waste of time.
I fucking love it.
The combination of strength training and cardio really does it for me – to be able to run faster, lift heavier, and continually improve myself – competing only against myself… it’s an incredible feeling.
Did I mention that I still suffer from a ridiculous case of Fat Kid Syndrome?
When I was growing up, (which is a weird term, I admit. We’re ALWAYS growing up…), I was always teased for being “big boned”, for having “thunder thighs”, or for simply being fat. There was a six month stint when I was 15 where I was homeless and very rarely ate, and became INCREDIBLY skinny… when I finally got my shit together and went back home, I was told that I was fat when I started eating properly again. Society is a strange beast. I always preferred music over fitness, dancing over rugby, songwriting over yoga. Suffice to say, things have changed.
Don’t get me wrong. I dabbled in fitness. I used to think that short stints on the crosstrainer would be enough. I never attempted weight training. I did a LOT of cardio based stuff, small weights and still ate absolute bullshit. My education on health was severely lacking. Then I went bungy jumping… and discovered I was almost 90kg. What the actual fuck. Something needed to change.
So I cut all carbs and started more training and updated my program to include more weights. My thinking changed and became more about strength – but I was still hung up on aesthetics. Yep. Society is a judgemental beast. I got down to 77kg, and found myself in a relationship with a body builder. Forget society; THIS was a whole other beast – and not in a positive, uplifting way. After spending a couple of years trying to adjust my thinking to be about strength and personal progress, I found myself being instructed that I NEEDED to be better. My worth relied on my assets (predominantly my ass); I was instructed to get down to 45kg, I was told to dress differently, quit my band and take up hip hop, ditch my friends… it’s amazing how quickly and easily one can find themselves in an abusive relationship. Getting told that you’re weak is one thing; but having those weaknesses outwardly displayed to you is another. I was often overpowered (while he laughed at how much stronger he was than me), I was told I wasn’t good enough, and I started to believe him.
Suddenly I was presented with the idea that I was in control. That I had the ability to develop my own strength again – in a safe and fun environment. But the best thing? Having my mental and emotional strength grow as my physical strength developed. First I was doing 40kg deadlifts… then 50kg… then 60kg… each increase a step closer to my own personal success and my ability to reclaim my life. (For what it’s worth, I’m now at a 120kg deadlift). Another strange thing happened too – while I had spent the better part of a year being told I needed to look a certain way, my mindset started to change back to my original goal of strength over aesthetics. Furthermore, the people I was training with started talking about STRONG over skinny – and I was getting stronger! I’d push myself to start competing against the men at my box (crossfit gym) and even came out better off sometimes!
Every day brought with it new challenges – new goals to reach and obstacles to overcome. The biggest obstacle, of course, being able to become stronger than my now ex-boyfriend. I was now able to start working on my self confidence. I was now able to put a trespassing order against him. I was now able to acknowledge the extent of sexual, physical and mental abuse that I had endured over those seven months. And I was now able to forgive myself and move on – with a kettlebell in each hand.
Today was my last WOD at Functional Strength Crossfit – the box that I’ve been attending for almost two years now. It was bittersweet, but it was rad. With the skills I’ve learned, and my new and improved mindset focusing on strength and discipline, I feel like I can now move on into the next chapter of my life with the knowledge that whatever I set forth to achieve, I CAN achieve.
Because what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you – and I have a feeling this next adventure is going to have a shit load of challenges. 😀